On Pa and the fight over polls

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Harry's Bar in Paris

The lead story in today's P-G is on the 11th hour ad (and spin) war going on in Pa and two other lean-Dem states, and the WashPost leads with the same thing. The WP localizes with these takes:

Christopher Nicholas, a former GOP consultant who is now political director for the Pennsylvania Business Council, said of Romney: "He's doing less poorly in Philadelphia suburbs than a basic Republican has, and the president is collapsing in the southwest."

"The lead here is four or five [percentage points], and I don't think one week of TV is going to alter that," said former governor Edward G. Rendell (D). He also indicated that Obama has a significantly larger get-out-the-vote operation than Romney does.

Politico writes on behind-the-scenes talks between the Romney camp and supporters that differed ever-so-slightly from talks with reporters yesterday:

In states where there have not been ads, however, polls show Romney drawing closer to the president. This has prompted the Republican's campaign to go up a significant ad buy in Pennsylvania and, to a lesser degree, in Minnesota.

But in the conversation with Washington supporters Wednesday, Romney political director Rich Beeson made clear that they only making a foray into Pennsylvania after the rest of their swing state ads and field programs were funded. Explaining why they thought it was worth testing the waters in Pennsylvania, Beeson explained that 96% of the Keystone States voters would cast ballots on Election Day, meaning that, unlike states with early voting, they could be susceptible to a late push.

The Politico story (like ours) mentions how the Romney team is flustered by the methods in the Q swing state poll and some other public polling, which has become one of the major issues between the lines of this seemingly super-tight presidential race. GOP pollsters think some public polls hew too closely to Democratic models rather than GOP ones, notes an interesting story in the National Journal today.

Writes Reid Wilson:

Republicans and Democrats alike believe the African American vote is unlikely to change between 2008 and 2012. But they differ dramatically on the number of Hispanic voters who will show up at the polls -- a key factor in critical battleground states like Colorado and Nevada. Republicans believe turnout will be down, depressed by Obama's failure to pursue immigration reform during his first term. Democrats think the booming number of Hispanic residents means their share of the electorate will only increase.

The same argument happens over younger voters. In 2008, 18 percent of the electorate was made up of voters between 18 and 29 years old. That's higher than the percentage has been in recent presidential years, when the youth vote has made up around 15 or 16 percent. Republicans believe the younger share of the electorate will slide slightly, and that Obama will win fewer of those voters anyway.

The manifestation of these disagreements is evident in polling weights. Most Republican pollsters are using something close to a 2008 turnout model, with the same percentage of white, black and Hispanic voters as the electorate that first elected Obama. Most Democratic pollsters are a little more bullish on minority turnout, which helps explain some of the difference between the two sides.


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